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European Commission approves Watson-Actavis merger

BY Alaric DeArment

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — European regulators have approved U.S. drug maker Watson’s acquisition of Switzerland-based Actavis, Watson said.

Watson said the European Commission had approved its $5.6 billion purchase of the drug maker, formerly based in Iceland, which Watson announced in April 2012.

Watson expects the transaction to be finished by the end of this year, subject to regulatory approval by the Federal Trade Commission. The acquisition is expected to create the world’s third-largest generic drug maker.

"Approval from the EC represents a significant milestone this week as we work toward the completion of the combination of Watson and Actavis later this year," Watson president and CEO Paul Bisaro said.


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Kantar Retail survey: Dollar General offers least expensive basket price

BY Marianne Wilson

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Dollar General is the overall basket price leader, delivering a substantial savings to value shoppers, according to Kantar Retail’s second annual opening price point survey. Walgreens, for the second year, had the most expensive total basket, driven by sharply higher edible and nonedible grocery baskets.

The Kantar survey measures how selected retailers are meeting the cross-category needs of the low-income shopper who is seeking the lowest prices to fulfill basket requirements. Kantar selected twenty categories across the edible grocery, nonedible grocery, and health and beauty aids (HBA) segments. The study was expanded this year to include Dollar General, along with the same six retailers surveyed in 2011, including Walmart, Stop & Shop, Family Dollar, Aldi, Target and Walgreens. Retailers included in the survey are located in northeastern United States.

The study found that among them, Dollar General offered an 18% overall basket savings, driven by lower OPPs in its edible and nonedible baskets, representing a substantial savings to the value shopper. Meanwhile, Walmart offered the second-cheapest overall basket, though 18% higher than the OPP basket at Dollar General.

"Dollar General’s basket price leadership at the OPP level is impressive," said Leon Nicholas, Kantar Retail SVP and contributor to the study. "Though Walmart had a less expensive HBA basket, the retailer’s assertion of overall basket price leadership to the value-focused shopper on an everyday basis was not established by our study."

According to Nicholas, the results of the study suggest that temporary price cuts to create the perception of a price advantage, will not win the battle for the value shopper’s dollar. Instead, aggressive, everyday pricing across categories will be a requirement to overtake Dollar General’s advantage at the opening price point, he said.

To receive a copy of the Kantar Retail study, contact Katherine Clarke at [email protected].

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Deloitte: CPG companies not keeping up with explosive growth of dollar channel

BY Marianne Wilson

NEW YORK — Only 58% of consumer packaged goods executives view dollar stores as a strategic channel, according to Deloitte’s new "Dollar Store Strategies for National Brands" study. Deloitte advises that CPG companies may not be keeping pace with the explosive growth of the $56 billion dollar store industry, and should act now to maximize market share and profits.

In other survey highlights:

  • Three-quarters (75%) of CPG executives surveyed expect dollar stores to continue to expand their geographic presence, and 62% forecast sales at their company’s dollar channel to increase in the next three years; and

  • Only half (51%) of all CPG executives surveyed believe their companies have increased investment in sales capabilities related to the dollar channel over the last three years.

The top five operational challenges CPG companies surveyed face while dealing with the dollar channel include:

  • Supply chain, distribution and operations (29%);

  • Brand, product strategy and innovation (24%);

  • Channel conflicts (12%);

  • Margin management (12%); and

  • Pricing and trade promotions (12%).

Click here for the full report.

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